As a former elite triathlete, I’ve spent more time in the saddle (the bike saddle, that is) than I care to remember. Hour upon hour up and down mountains, through countryside and towns, cranking away on the pedals. That might sound like a cool gig—and it was for a time—but those training sessions slowly wore down my body to the point where I eventually had to walk away from triathlon.
It was a long time before I could enjoy being on a bicycle again. That’s a shame because bicycling is fantastic for many reasons. Commute or run errands on your bike, and you start and end your workday with physical activity, reduce your carbon footprint, and never need to find parking. Mountain biking gets you out into nature, hitting trails you might never reach by foot. Road cyclist ride in packs and then relax at the coffee shop or pub after, so they are getting social interaction along with exercise (the benefits of which are somewhat mitigated by the beer…).
In today’s Dear Mark, I’m tackling a reader’s question regarding a new workout that’s apparently all the rage on social media. I’m not much for hopping on viral fitness trends myself, but I’m always interested in keeping my finger on the pulse of what people are doing in the name of health, strength, and weight loss. You never know when the next truly great thing is going to come along, right?
Let’s get into it:
I’m seeing a new fitness trend all over my TikTok: “12-3-30.” Other users are claiming it changed their bodies in just a month, and I’m tempted to try it, but as far as I can tell it’s just… walking uphill? Is this trend too good to be true or worth trying? Do you think something like this could be considered “primal”?
Thanks for asking—and for thinking that I might be hip enough to already know about a TikTok trend! As a general rule, if a “get fit quick” scheme seems too good to be true, it probably is. However, let’s not discredit the actual value this trend might hold without examining it more closely.
What is the 12-3-30?
A quick dive into Google explains the “12-3-30,” aka the 12.3.30 treadmill routine, is walking at a 12 percent incline at 3mph on a treadmill for 30 minutes. Credited to influencer Lauren Giraldo, this workout’s short time frame and relative ease have piqued people’s interest. I’m sure the testimonials from people claiming to have made big physique gains in a short time don’t hurt either.